Feeling the Burn? Part 1: 3 Reasons Empowered Parents Practice Self-Care
Burnout. The arch-enemy of Empowered Parents. Every one of us parents come head to head with this at some point. The weight of driving children to school and practices, giving baths, making meals, keeping the house clean, keeping kids from going at each other like two heavyweight boxers, working, taking care of the bills, and managing life can be a lot to hold. The fact we also tend to set our needs aside as parents to care for our children compounds the effect.
The more burnt out we get as parents, the less effective we become. We start to become more reactive rather than responsive to situations, which tends to make the problem worse and only adds to the burnout. Our energy decreases, we begin to feel discouraged, and we start to withdraw. Is any of this starting to sound familiar?
If we are setting aside our needs consistently, we begin to feel resentful and left out. Our needs move beyond starved and it wears us down. The unfortunate thing is because of the negative thinking that comes with being burnt out, we start to feel guilty for even thinking about spending time to take care of ourselves!
Self-care is not selfish; it is essential! Empowered Parents recognize the importance of taking care of their needs to keep themselves running optimally. We can’t take care of others if we are not taking the time to take care of ourselves. You will move further away from the parent you want to be if you are not taking time for yourself.
Parenting, by its nature, is a high maintenance role, and our children find unique and strange ways to tax us. While parenting is incredibly rewarding, the downs can be hard to manage at times. To combat this, Empowered Parents find ways to keep their life in balance through proactive means. They set personal and parenting goals, find ways to grow as an individual and build self-care into their daily routine.
The fact is no one is going to take care of you for you; it has to be your choice to add daily self-care practices into your life. It may feel like one more burden at the start; however, the fact it relieves pressure over time rather than adds more will be of benefit to you. Here are three reasons to start adding self-care to your daily routine as a parent.
Reason #1: Keeps Your Battery Charged
Would you let your cell phone go and go without charging it? Of course not, the battery has only so much life, so you will have to charge it at some point! As parents, we are the same way. We have only so much energy we can devote to taking care of all our responsibilities. When we start to feel burnt out, it’s no different than our phones entering power-saving mode. We are too low on charge to keep running at full speed.
Will our battery always be full? Of course not, even with daily self-care we are going to drain some of our energy. The benefit of taking care of ourselves daily is it keeps our charge out of the danger zone. I’m not saying you’ll have the energy to run a marathon every weekend, but you will feel you are more effective as a parent.
When we feel more energetic and parent more effectively, we interact with our children in ways that strengthen the relationship we have with them. The stronger the connection we have with our children, the more we work together. This helps lessen some of the burdens of parenting! Our perception changes when the relationship is secure and we are in a flow. The type of perception we have about parenting and our children is directly related to our level of charge!
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Reason #2: Shows Your Children the Importance of Taking Care of Yourself
There are a lot of parents that believe they need to be superhuman and take care of everyone and everything without asking for help. They run themselves ragged trying to get everything done, breaking down secretly while attempting to project the opposite to others. They attempt to carry the world on their shoulders, worried that if they stop the world will collapse. Instead of trusting the others around, they take on the burden themselves.
It’s not a shock to see why this type of approach to parenting is going to lead to burnout, and it’s going to get there quickly! What does this teach our children? Does it teach them to ask for help and take time to take care of themselves? Chances are if we are acting this way as parents, we are teaching them to take advantage of our energy because we aren’t putting any boundaries in place. This creates resentment, frustration, and despair. What do we want to teach our children instead?
When we take time to recharge our batteries, we teach our children that it is vital to keep ourselves a priority in life. This does not mean every second has to be about us; instead, it means that even with our roles and responsibilities, we keep our personal wellness a priority. As we do this, we teach our children to make themselves a priority when caring for others and taking care of their responsibilities. That’s a win-win situation right there!
Reason #3: Keeps You Centered with Your Goals
As parents, we all have goals that we want to accomplish to help create the home we want and prepare our children for the adult world. Empowered Parents know that if they let the burnout take over, they will get further and further away from their goals. This happens because we become reactive and start using parenting techniques that do not align with our vision. We have less patience, start listening less, and draw from authority and power rather than the relationship.
The feeling of getting further away from our goals only adds to the burnout as we know we are not parenting to our true values and hopes. Unfortunately, when we are burnt out, we feel like we do not have the energy or ability to do anything different. We watch as our goals slowly fade away to where we can’t see them anymore. We lose the parenting flow and instead feel like we are stuck in quicksand.
Taking the time to add self-care into our daily routine will help keep us centered on our goals as parents. We will behave and respond in proactive and positive ways to our children rather than become reactive and let emotion take over. We will listen better to our children and handle situations of misbehavior and conflict better. We stay more connected to the parent we want to be rather than feel like we have transformed into something completely different.
Parenting is a tough job, and it is worth your time to find out if you are making it harder on yourself than it needs to be. Adding self-care to your daily routine is one way to help prevent burnout and keeping you running effectively. As an Empowered Parent, recognize that self-care is essential and not selfish. Do what you need to do to start adding self-care into your daily routine and watch yourself and your family grow from the increased connection and decreased tension!